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Dane of the Year 2003 – Golden Jubilee

BIS line up for the 50th Anniversary Dane of the Year: The BIS Mr and Mrs Hallam’s bitch Ch Dainwood Fantastic Light at Fassano, Secretary and Show Manager Jack Taylor, the bitch judge Mrs Sue Pollock – Yule, Res BIS Mr and Mrs Townend’s dog Ch Danepoint Dreamseller of Eastlight and dog judge Mrs Betty Bacon

Before reporting on this prestigious show, of which I have already given brief details in the breed notes, held on Sunday 19th at The Connexion, Coventry and hosted, rather aptly, by The Northern G.D.C., as it is also their centenary year, I trawled through some old Daneites to find a little bit of background to the origin and setting up of the show.

The first mention of D.O.T.Y. is made in issue 11 - October/November 1952 and it states "Mr. Fergus Taylor has, for some time, had a longing to see a Dane of the Year Show - on the lines of the Horse of the Year Show at Harringay. There is every hope that in 1953 his ambition will be realised and there will be a National Great Dane Show in the forthcoming Coronation Year. To Mr. Taylor goes the credit for first putting the idea before the public, which he did during the Festival of Britain year in 1951."

In the next issue - No. 12 - December/January 1953 (The Daneite then was printed every other month) it continues "The Dane of the Year Show, the idea of which Mr. Fergus Taylor originated, will, it is hoped, be held for the first time during 1953 and, if it is well supported, become an annual affair. A Show Committee consisting of Delegates from all four Clubs met in December. With the support of all Clubs, it should be really representative of all that is best in the breed. The Kennel Club, it may not be generally known, insists that, with a show supported by several breed clubs, only one of the supporting clubs can sponsor the show.

It was felt the honour of doing this should go to the oldest club. This is, of course, the Great Dane Club, but although willing to co-operate fully in other ways, it did not wish to accept the position of sponsoring the show. Next in order of seniority was the Northern G.D.C., but the delegates of this Club were unable to be present at the first delegates' meeting, so that they could not accept responsibility. Next in order of age came the Great Dane Breeders Association and the delegates of the Association agreed to act as Sponsors to the Kennel Club. Commander Bishop was appointed Show Secretary and Manager, with Miss Bishop to assist him.

Mr. Fergus Taylor was elected Chairman and it was decided to ballot all members (of all four Clubs - one vote per member) on the question of Overseas Judges or English Judges. It was also proposed to hold the Show in May or June and to make the venue the Kew Pavilion if possible. Delegates from the M.& W.E.G.D.C. were Mr. Fergus Taylor, Mrs. D. Tittle and Mr. R. Courtenay Benham." Issue 14 - April/May 1953. "Plans for the "Dane of the Year" Coronation Show are now well forward. The date is fixed (August 20th.) and so is the venue (Kew Pavilion).


We all now await the name of the judge. The classification is on a grand scale and there will 24 classes, including classes for Stud Dogs and Brood Bitches, as well as colour. There will be some Cups and Specials open to all, some confined to members of particular Clubs, and offers of Specials, either in cash or in kind, for our own members will be greatly welcomed by the Committee. Attention is called to the advantage of advertisements in the schedules and catalogues, as these will go to members of all four Clubs, in all parts of the world. The cost of one page in either schedule or catalogue will be £1.00 (10/6d. half page), or 35/- for a page in both." As we all know, the first BIS winner was the fawn dog Ch. Elch Edler of Ouborough handled and owned by Bill Siggers with the show judged by Miss W. Evans. A very fitting first winner as Elch has been awarded BIS that February at Crufts, the only time a Dane has achieved this honour.

On now to the present day and the Golden Jubilee D.O.T.Y. The Northern had taken tremendous effort to make the hall look both attractive and inviting. Golden anniversary balloons adorned the sports netting and their silhouette Dane ring fixtures added to the overall picture. The male members of their Committee were all in dinner jackets whilst the ladies were colour co-ordinated in black and grey. On entering the hall, their President, Jean Taylor, greeted every exhibitor and presented them with a rose buttonhole. Apart from the sponsoring Club, the other two involved with DOTY, GDC of South Wales and Midland & West, both had Club tables with "goodies" for sale and their trophies on offer for the day. It was nice to see South Western and Scottish supporting DOTY with Club tables. At lunch time, a slice of birthday cake and a glass of either red or white wine was given to all present.

Our judges, Betty Bacon (Samani) - dogs and Sue Pollock-Yule (Bencleves) - bitches, agreed on all their joint decisions, so referee, Olive Davies (Oldmanor) was not required. BIS went to Margaret and Matthew Hallam's fawn bitch Ch Dainwood Fantastic Light at Fassano with RBIS and BOS going to Pat and Steve Townend's fawn dog Ch Danepoint Dreamseller of Eastlight. Reserve Dog was Graham and Carol Dashwood's fawn Ch Lucerne Rockafella, second in Open to the RBIS, and Reserve Bitch to Donna Dugdale's fawn Daykonea Calamity Jane, winner of Limit. For the puppies, Joe and Noreen Bereza's fawn bitch Norsef Lady Of The Manor took the top spot with Jennie Wiltshire's fawn dog Ladymere Lord Of The Dance reserve, handled by daughter, Leah.

The Northern had on display an original catalogue of the 1953 DOTY and looking through the exhibitors, Olive Davies, our referee, had entered three Danes and Nellie Ennals (Bringtonhill) had entered four. Both these ladies and another onlooker, Les Lewis (Daneon), had spanned the half century of DOTY. A warm round of applause from the assembled gathering greeted this announcement. Although this show is only an Open show, (Did I say "only"!) the entry of 232 exhibits gives this show the highest entry including Crufts and all the Championship shows. What a tribute to the breed and the high esteem in which this show is held. To sum up the day, one of the best DOTY's I have had the pleasure of attending and a show not to be missed in the future. Congratulations to the Northern for a job brilliantly done. The show finished just before 4.30 p.m.

Tony Schaanning Ling

Bitch judge Sue Pollock –Yule with her best bitch line up Mr and Mrs Hallam’s
Best Bitch Ch Dainwood Fantastic Light at Fassano, and Res best
bitch Miss D Dougdale’s Daykonea Calamity Jane

The 50th Anniversary Dane of the Year was sponsored by the Northern Great Dane Club, pictured here, who were also celebrating their centenary